Jacob Ezra Katz (his birth name) was born on March 11, 1916 in Brooklyn, NY. Keats was a mural painter for the WPA and later took a job as a comic book illustrator. While he was in the service Keats was a camouflage pattern designer, and after the war changed his name to make his Jewish heritage less noticeable. Keats illustrated Jubilant Spring by Elizabeth Hubbard Lansing. He wrote and illustrated several books including My Dog is Lost and The Snowy Day, which won a Caldecott Medal in 1963. Keats was also awarded the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion in 1980. Ezra Jack Keats died on May 6, 1983.